Saturday, July 17, 2010
Statement on the terrorist attacks in Kampala on the 1.07.2010
I wish to extend my condolences to all Ugandans and especially the families of the victims of the bomb blasts that hit Kampala on the night of 11.07.2010. What befell our nation was so tragic. I hope that the nation will keep its strong heart and hope, as it has exhibited it so far, throughout the time of grief.
I wish to pass my thanks, first to the immediate families, relatives and friends of the victims for their composure despite the pain inflicted on them, and the country; to our police force and the medical teams who did whatever was within their power to save all the lives that were saved right at the scenes and at the hospitals; to all our leaders in their different capacities who have ensured that the country stays up and running, and are working relentlessly to ensure that such similar acts are averted; to the Somali community in Uganda, who, despite their status and condemnation from some individuals in the country, have done everything they possibly could to stand with the victims of the attacks; to friends; individuals, organizations and governments from allover the world who have stood with us in many different ways during this time of tragic.
These are acts of a few mad people, organized as Al Shabab, who claim to have carried them out in the name of Somalia and Islam. Their claims are baseless. Islam, like many other religions, has love as a central theme in its preaching. These extremists can not stand to represent the whole of Islam. Somalia , like almost every other country in Africa , has struggled to have a strong and running government, committed to prosperity of its land and people. Ugandans can not and shall not hold Somalia responsible for these terrorist acts. We will continue to consider Somalis as comrades in the search for peace and prosperity; people traveling the same road that most Africans have, or are traveling.
The people of Uganda have a history similar to that of Somalis. In the 70s and 80s, we were refugees in so many places around the world, seeking and hoping that our own country would be peaceful and prosperous. In the 70s, our own government, (government not an extremist group) attacked Tanzania , and even annexed part of it to Uganda . The Tanzanians strengthened their support to the Ugandan exiles, which led to the overthrow of Idi Amin, and finally culminated into the relative peace of the 90s and 20s in the country. It is a sad thing that we had to lose life for that peace, yet without the support of Tanzania , perhaps peace would have delayed. The memory of our own history makes it quite hard to deny Somalis our support.
As part of Africa, Uganda could not sit back and fold its hands as Somali extremists murdered the people of Somalia , moreover, a country whose proximity to us is so clear. The problems in Somalia have had a spillover effect in Uganda through refugees and an unstable security situation in our region. I am made to think that the success of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) in keeping peace in Somalia resulted in these attacks. The extremists want to terrorize and threaten us into giving up the peace mission in Somalia so they can freely exercise their control, murder and plunder over a people reduced into a vulnerable position. I would like to commend the UPDF for their successes and commitment to the peace of Somalia despite losing their own to terrorist fire.
Fellow citizens, peace in any part of Africa, as in any other part of the world, can be a contribution to peace in Uganda . If the presence of Uganda ’s peace forces in Somalia contributes, in any way, to the peace of that country, it is critical that we stay until we have helped bring it about. I would like to call upon the rest of Africa, and the world, to do more to bring peace to Somalia .
To the Somalis home and allover the world, there is more that you can do to bring about this peace. And to the extremists, there is more prosperity and happiness to be secured in the midst of peace than from plunder under cover of war.
I hope that the government and the people of Uganda will remain in a position to maintain their peace and still contribute to peace anywhere our involvement becomes necessary. I hope that soon Africa will be able to stop the necessity of war; that we will all be able to live in peace and prosperity despite our apparently insurmountable differences and hardships.
God Bless Uganda , God Bless the world,